Thursday, 12 June 2014

Wise words - 'God is too big...'


Find more 'wise words' and 'insights' from Luther Standing Bear, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, Frank Baum, Einstein and many others in the Archives.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Quiet Reflection - 'Rev. Norman Habel'

A Faith Friendly Blessing

May the pulse of life
that animates our planet,
the dream of peace
that sustains her people
the spirit of hope
that inspires her faiths
create within her children
a desire for friendship

- Rev. Norman Habel

click 'labels' below to see more reflections

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Advocates for Peace - 'Martin Luther King'

'This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited a big house,
a great 'world house' in which we have to live together - black and white, Easteners and Westerners, Gentiles and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Moslem and Hindu, a family unduly separated in ideas, cultures and interests who, because we can never again live without each other, must learn, somehow, in this one big world, to live with each other'.

                                                     - Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King was 35 years old when he received the Nobel Peace Prize, making him the youngest recipient to be awarded this honor. Even today, 44 years after his untimely death in 1968, his sentiments and words on universal peace, equality and unity still reverberate around the world - the message they impart just as relevant today as it was back then.

A pastor and committed civil rights advocate - particularly for members of his race, by 1954 Martin Luther King was on the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - the foremost organization of its kind in America.

In 1955, King assumed leadership of the first ‘peaceful’ African-American demonstration in the US - the world famous ‘bus boycott’ conducted over 382 days. In 1956, following the Supreme Court’s declaration that current laws requiring segregation on buses by Negroes and whites were unconstitutional, US citizens ‘rode the buses as equals‘.

Despite being arrested, abused and having his home attacked during the boycott, King became a prominent and highly respected leader and president of a growing civil rights movement.  His beliefs and ideals were influenced by Christianity and Gandhian philosophy and he traveled extensively around America, speaking to large audiences ‘wherever there was injustice, protest, and action’.

King's legendary protest in Alabama acquired worldwide attention, resulting in what he termed ‘a coalition of conscience’, and would directly inspire his manifesto of the ‘Negro revolution’ - Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

Seeking registration and voting rights for African-Americans, King organized a massive non-violent march on Washington, where - in front of several hundred thousand people, he made his famous speech, I Have a Dream.

‘…I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together…’

Rising to world prominence as a tireless and passionate civil rights advocate and the acclaimed ‘symbolic leader’ of African-Americans, Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968, just before he was scheduled to lead another sympathetic protest march.

click 'labels' below to see more Advocates for peace - The Dalai Lama, Mata Amritanandamayi

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Quiet Reflection - Philip Larkin



If I were called in
 to construct a religion
I should raise in the East
a glass of water
where any-angled light
would congregate endlessly.
- Philip Larkin

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

'Rig Veda' - a song about our eternal nature


I came across this very beautiful prayer recently and have made it part of my daily spiritual practise.  I recite it, then sit quietly, reflecting on the wisdom it contains.  It reminds us that we are an inherent part of something eternal and everlasting, something that is much bigger, that expands way beyond the confines and limitations of our physical bodies and minds.  We are never separate from this source - our purpose is to discover that.  There are many wonderful and wise teachings and insights in this prayer and the more I read and reflect on it, the more I get out of it.   Another thing that is very clear to me is that 'being fully present in the moment is just as important as the search'.

Although my spirit may wander the four

corners of the earth,

Let it come back to me again so that I may live

and journey here.

Although my spirit may go far away

over the sea,

Let it come back to me again so that I may live

and journey here.

Although my spirit may go far away

to the flashing beams of light,

Let it come back to me again so that I may live

and journey here.

Although my spirit may go far away to visit

the sun and the dawn,

Let it come back to me again so that I may live

and journey here.

Although my spirit may wander over the

lofty mountains,

Let it come back to me again so that I may live

and journey here.

Although my spirit my go far away into all

forms that live and move,

Let it come back to me again so that I may live

and journey here.

Although my spirit may go far away to

distant realms,

Let it come back to me again so that I may live

and journey here.

Although my spirit may go far away to all that

is and is to be,

Let it come back to me again so that I may live

and journey here.

Although my spirit may wander in the valley

of death

Let it come back to me again so that I may live

and journey here.

- Rig Veda






Friday, 12 April 2013

Ramakrishna on finding God

Ramakrishna's deep wisdom and insights resonate and embody the Interfaith approach, so today I am re-blogging this wonderful post because when it was first published, late last year, it didn't quite get the attention I think it deserves.  Enjoy.

"God has made different religions to suit different aspirations, times, and countries.  All doctrines are only so many paths; but a path is by no mean God Himself.  Indeed, one can reach God if one follows any of the paths with whole-hearted devotion.  One may eat a cake with icing either straight or sidewise. It will taste sweet either way.

As one and the same material, water is called by different names by different peoples, one calling it water, another eau, a third aqua,and another pani, so the one Everlasting-Intelligent-Bliss is invoked by some as God, by some as Allah, by some as Jehovah, and by some as Brahman.

As one can ascend to the top of a house by means of a ladder or a bamboo or a staircase or a rope, so diverse are ways and means to approach God, and every religion in the world shows one of these ways.

Bow down and worship where others kneel, for where so many have been paying the tribute of adoration, the kind Lord must manifest himself, for he is all mercy.

The saviour is the messenger of God.  He is like the viceroy of a mighty monarch.  As when there is is some disturbance in a far off province, the king sends his viceroy to quell it, so wherever there is a decline in religion in any part of the world, God sends his Saviour there.  It is one and the same Saviour that, having plunged into the ocean of life, rises up in one place and is known as Krishna, and diving down again rises up in another place and is known as Christ.

Everyone should follow ones own religion.  A Christian should follow Christianity, a Muslim should follow Islam and so on.  For the Hindus the ancient path, the path of the Aryan sages, is best.  People partition of their lands by means of boundaries, but no-one can partition of the all-embracing sky overhead.  The indivisible sky surrounds all and includes all.

So people in ignorance say, "My religion is the only one, my religion is the best."  But when a heart is illumed by true knowledge, it knows that above all these wars of sects and sectarians presides the one indivisible, eternal, all-knowing bliss.

As a mother, in nursing her sick children, gives rice and curry to one, and sago arrowroot to another, and bread and butter to a third, so the Lord has laid out different paths for different people suitable for their natures."

- Ramakrishna

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Spiritual insight - The Dalai Lama

"My fellow religious believers, I ask this. Obey the injunctions of your own faith; travel to the essence of your religious teaching, the fundamental goodness of the human heart. Here is the space where, despite doctrinal differences, we are all simply human. If you believe in God, see others as God's children. If you are nontheist, see all beings as your mother. When you do this there will be no room for prejudice, intolerance, or exclusivity...Always embrace the common humanity that lies at the heart of us all".

You might also like 'Advocates for peace' - The Dalai Lama in May Archives.  Look through the Archives to find more insights from Luther Standing Bear,  Martin Luther King, Pope Benedict, Amma, Rumi, Hafiz, Einstein in

Friday, 29 March 2013

Timeless teachings - 'The Golden Rule'

The Golden Rule has come up in a few conversations I have had recently and I certainly think that in today's strife torn world, the message inherent in the Rule is just as relevant now - possibly even more so, than when some of the earliest examples were written, approximately 2000 years ago. 

Certainly the world we collectively share would be a very different one if we all treated each other with the same dignity, respect and kindness that we want for ourselves and our loved ones. That in fact is the message of The Golden Rule - treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.   

It is a timeless message that has served humanity through the ages. Wise teachers, mystics and masters, sages, saints and prophets have all reiterated these words - expressed each time in a different way, with different sentiments, but always containing the same universal message.

Regardless of our circumstances, our race, culture, religion and beliefs, we all want the same thing; peace, compassion, love and kindness; that the human heart is the font of all goodness - our purpose is to realise that, to see ourselves reflected in each other, and in doing so, transcend our differences.

‘You shall not take vengeance, or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself’ - Judaism (1400 BC)

'We should regard all creatures as we regard our own self’ - Jainism (800 BC)

'I will be as careful for you as I should be for myself in the same need' - Ancient Greece (700 BC)

‘That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself’ - Zoroastrianism (600 BC)

'Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful’ - Buddhism (500 BC)

‘Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss’ - Taoism (500 BC)

‘Do not do to others what you would not want others to do to you’ - Confucianism (500 BC)

'Do naught unto others (that) which would cause you pain if done to you’ - Hinduism (300 BC)
‘So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them’ - Christianity (30 AD)

‘None of you believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself’ - Islam (600 AD)

‘As you deem yourself, deem others as well; only then will you become a partner in heaven’ - Sikhism (1600)

‘Oh, do as you would be done by. And do unto all men as you would have them do unto you, for this is but the law and the prophet’ - Quakerism (1650)

Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself’ - Bahá'í (1844)

Image sourced

You might also like 'Charter of Compassion' in June archives

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Reflection - Ganga White
What if our religion was each other,
If our practice was our life,
if prayer our words?

What if the temple was the Earth,
if forests were our church,
if holy waters—the rivers, lakes, and oceans.

What if meditation was our relationships,
if the teacher was life,
if wisdom was self-knowledge,
if love was the center of our being.

- Ganga White

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Indigenous wisdom - Chippewa Medicine Man

I do not think that the measure of a civilization

is how tall its buildings of concrete are,

but rather how well its people have learned to relate

to their environment and fellow man.

Sun Bear - Chippewa medicine man

Find more Indigenous Wisdom, Insights, Wise Words and Quiet Reflections in the Archives - Luther Standing Bear, Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Frank Baum, Einstein, Maisie Cavanagh, Rumi, Tariq Ramadan...

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Spiritual practise - 'Letting go and moving on'

I'm re-blogging this post I wrote some time ago - apologies to those who have read it.  A situation arose the other day which reminded me of how much I have moved on from a situation that caused so much mental suffering - it was only through spiritual practise that I was able to do so.
I have always tried to 'walk the talk', to 'practise what I preach' - so to speak.  To me it is a fundamental part of authentic spiritual practise - living your beliefs, embodying them as a representative of your particular faith.  That's not to say you can't falter - we are human after all!

I remember being at a spiritual retreat many years ago and I was very surprised and somewhat shocked when someone I knew well - who had been a staunch spiritual practitioner for many years, spoke about the difficulty he had applying his teachings to his daily life.

The eight auspicious Buddhist symbols

At the time I was a relative newcomer to my chosen path, but even so I had always tried to live my practise.  To me it is an intrinsic part of being on a spiritual path in the first place.  Living your teachings is fundamental to spiritual growth, adhering to your beliefs even in really challenging situations - those moments that inevitably come along to confront you, when it is so easy to jump into the accompanying surge of emotion that wants to sweep you along with it.   

Before, I jumped.  Once I started living my practise, I paused, stepped aside - into a space that let me become an observer instead of a participant, watched the surge dissipate.  Came away from the whole sorry situation a better person.  A conversation recently got me thinking about 'walking the talk' the other day. 

I was asked how I had overcome the deep pain that had been inflicted on my family and I through the 'un-enlightened' actions of another.  I thought instantly of this Buddhist Bodhisattva prayer;

image sourced:

May all beings enjoy happiness
And have whatever causes happiness

May they be free from suffering
And whatever causes suffering

May they never be separated from the
Pure happiness which is without suffering

May they remain in great equanimity
Beyond attachment or aversion, to things near and far.

This particular situation had dragged on for some years.  It was one of the worst things my family has been through.  It was profoundly challenging and extremely difficult.  I got to point - which I admit did take some time - where I knew that I had to get back to a place of peace. The pain and suffering was causing me too much damage. That meant being more diligent, going deeper, more intently into my spiritual practise.

After a time I automatically started to include this person in my daily meditation visualisations - it's something I do regularly for family and friends who need healing.  One day I just popped her in there, saw her surrounded in peace, genuinely wished protection, health and happiness for her, understood that her harsh actions came from a place of ignorance, that - like everyone of us, what she most wanted in life was kindness, peace and love.

I kept doing this everyday until it became second nature to me, until finally - when I occasionally caught myself dwelling once again on what had happened, there was no reaction, the pain was gone, the intensity that use to come with the emotions attached to it, had dissipated as though they had never been.

And then one day, the situation turned. She stepped forward instead of back. Things healed, became as they should be. That to me is the power of authentic spiritual practise.  The power of this prayer - seeing ourselves reflected in each other.  Understanding that compassion - if lived and practised authentically, has no boundaries.  No limitation.

You may also like 'Memoir of a pilgrim - Transcending death' and  'Meditation - What the Buddha learnt'  in Popular Posts and Archives.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Indigenous wisdom - 'Aboriginal Proverb'


You may also like Indigenous Wisdom - 'Maisie Cavanagh' in September Archives.  See also Hindu Wisdom - 'Castle of Brahma'.